Fox is putting a lot of faith in Son of God, the theatrical version of the History Channel's March 2013 miniseries, The Bible. Following the massive ratings success of the 10-episode series, starring Diogo Morgado as the titular son, Hearst, half of the network's parent company (the other being Disney), teamed up with 20th Century Fox to adapt it into a 175-minute feature film, which will focus solely on the life and resurrection of Jesus. Using selections from the broadcast version of The Bible, it'll also include a few extra scenes not aired on TV.
The official press release describes the film in full:
This major motion picture event — an experience created to be shared among families and communities across the U.S. — brings the story of Jesus' life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.
It's possible Fox and Heart are looking to 2004's Passion of the Christ for an idea of how successful Son of God might be. The Mel Gibson-helmed epic brought in over $600 million at the box office; then again, it had Gibson's name behind it. Of course, even if Son of God flops, Fox and THC can rest easy knowing they didn't lose as much money as they could have, as they've only had to worry about editing and distribution costs.
Further comparisons are bound to be drawn to Passion of the Christ, but judging from the trailer — and that the footage is from a History Channel miniseries — we're looking at a much less graphic take on the story. The real question now is, how much more can you do with Jesus? It's a tale everyone, religious or not, is familiar with. From the Son of God trailer the biggest difference I can see is that this Jesus seems the tiniest bit cheeky.
2014, as it turns out, is shaping up to be a big year for the bible epic. Just one month after Son of God premieres, Darren Aronofsky's Noah will hit theaters. It's too bad they don't each open just a few weeks later — Easter falls on April 20 this year, and a Son of God / Noah double feature would have been a great way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
Do you guys think Son of God will be as successful at the theater?
Son of God will be released February 28, 2014.